How One Man is Making a Change
Don Hagan – In the news, there has been a lot of attention towards technology, and one specific focus has been Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. With Joe Biden being the president-elect, there has been talk about what is in store for this act, and whether or not there will be reform.
Yury Mosha, Russian immigrant and CEO of Second Passport, an immigration consulting company, has taken a particular interest in gaining attention to the issues that Section 230 creates, as well as who it really protects.
In his own experience, Yury has unfortunately seen the negative effects of the act. Many years ago, his competitors purchased fake news articles to be published across criminal websites to slander Mr. Mosha and to tarnish his brand.
Such sites exist with domain names that are meant to trick the user, such as fbi.media. Many inexperienced people on the internet may assume that this is a legitimate website, and therefore trust the content that is published on there.
So, Yury fought to have this taken down. However, that is not possible due to Section 230. To get in contact with the actual site owners is nearly impossible, as they are anonymous and even if you do get in contact with them, they will only extort you to gain a profit for taking down the article. Since the websites are fake, they are also very easy to take down and create again, making these articles constantly pop up.
Since gaining their attention does not work, Yury turned to Google themselves. Google essentially ignored his pleas and claimed that they do not need to take anything down since they are not responsible for the content on their platform. This is where the issue of Section 230 comes in. It allows large platforms such as Google, Facebook, Instagram and others to not take any accountability for the content that is posted, as they do not have to.
When getting attention from the platforms themselves did not work either, it was now time to turn to the government. Congressmen and Senators have the power to make impactful changes, and can either reform the law, or completely change it.
With president-elect Biden soon to take office, Section 230 will hopefully come before the House of Representatives for them to vote on.
Knowing this, Yury Mosha began contacting all the Congressmen in New York, where he lives, as well as all 100 Senators. As of now, he has gotten responses from five Congressmen, as well as two Senators. The Congressmen who he has gotten in contact with are Lee M. Zeldin from the 1st District in New York, Thomas R. Suozzi from the 3rd District in New York, Sean Patrick Maloney from the 18th District in New York, Anthony Brindisi from the 22nd District in New York, and Tom Reed from the 23rd District in New York. He received answers as well from Patrick J. Toomey, a Senator from Pennsylvania, as well as from Tom Udall, a Senator from New Mexico.
All Congressmen and Senators have agreed with Mr. Mosha on the issue of Section 230 and do believe that reform needs to happen. They understand that Google needs to be held accountable for what is on their platform, and that these large websites cannot get away with taking no responsibility. However, they also understand that this will be difficult to implement in the United States, as we have the 1st Amendment, which allows for freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech is essential, and should be intact, but Section 230 is outdated. The act was created in 1996, when the internet was an entirely different place. In the year 2020, the internet is a second life to most people, and it needs to be regulated as such.
The first step to making a change is creating awareness and bringing the issue forward to the people that are decision makers. Yury plans on continuing getting more government officials on board, as this is clearly a step in the right direction. He thanks all of the Congressmen and Senators who have already spoken with him, and he is continuing the fight for justice.